Citizen participation

Citizen participation is the active participation of citizens in political decisions and/or planning processes.

The possibilities of participation by citizens result from Article 20(2) and Article 28(1) of the Basic Law. Accordingly, the principle of representative democracy applies to the Federal Republic of Germany. The formation of the will takes place primarily by elected representatives and not directly by the people.

Every citizen has extensive opportunities to actively participate in his/her municipality or in his/her circle. This includes the election of the municipal or city council and, in districts, also that of the district council. Full-time mayors are also directly elected.

In addition, the municipal and district regulations also offer other ways to co-design:

  • Citizens' initiatives and referendums,
  • Residents' meetings, question times and motions,
  • Advisory councils.

Children and young people also have the opportunity to participate.

Furthermore, there are other elements of citizen participation through various rights of consultation, objection and complaint. At the state level, citizens can also exercise their right to petition (a petition is, for example, a suggestion or complaint) against the Petitions Committee of the Landtag.


Further information on civil rights can be found on the website of the Ministry of the Interior and Federal Affairs of the State of Schleswig-Holstein (MIB).

  • Civil rights in Schleswig-Holstein: Participation in the municipalities

Article 20(2), Article 28(1), Article 17 of the Basic Law.

Related Links

  • GG

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